More than a century old, Houston-based firm Andrews Kurth has
grown from a local powerhouse representative for the railroad
industry to an international firm with branches in Washington, DC,
New York, Dubai, London and Beijing, making a name for itself along
the way with its energy and bankruptcy practices. With a mantra of
"straight talk," Andrews Kurth has national tier one practices in
energy, trusts & estates, oil & gas law and project finance
law according to U.S. News.
Texas Railroading and the Aviator
In 1902, Frank Andrews--a former assistant attorney general for
Texas--and Thomas Ball--a former U.S. representative from
Texas--founded a firm in Houston. From its early years, the firm
was heavily involved in Houston's development, helping secure
funding to build the Port of Houston and representing railroad
bigwigs like Houston Belt, Terminal Railroad and the Gulf Coast
Lines. The firm did so much work for the railroad industry, in
fact, that railroaders expressed their gratitude by naming a
freight station north of Houston after Tom Ball. In the early
1900s, the Texan firm also worked with Standard Oil and the Houston
Several years later, Melvin Kurth hopped aboard and headed the
firm from 1936 for the next three decades. A portion of Andrews
Kurth's mid-twentieth century work revolved around eccentric
aviator and business tycoon Howard Hughes and his Hughes Tool
Company. Around that time Andrews Kurth also ratcheted up its
business in the energy field, counseling firms involved in natural
gas pipeline construction and other energy initiatives and helping
them negotiate the relatively new regulatory network coming out of
In 1977, Andrews Kurth expanded beyond the Lone Star state when
it opened an office in DC to help handle its growing energy
regulatory practice. Following were office inaugurations in Los
Angeles, New York, the Woodlands, across the pond in London and
into the Middle East in Dubai.
No Energy Shortages Here
At least 85 of its more than 400 lawyers work in energy
law--advising in regulatory work, project financing as well as
counseling on construction contracts and litigation for energy
companies like Eurus Energy, DKRW and BP. Former Texas Supreme
Court Justice Scott Brister, who leads the firm's appellate
division, headed BP's defense in state litigation following the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The firm also dabbles in renewable energy sources. A 20-attorney
strong wind power team, for example, advises companies on the ins
and outs of financing and developing wind power projects.
Managing Your Money
Although the firm boasts top energy and regulatory practices, it
also touts a high-profile bankruptcy group. The firm pioneered its
bankruptcy practice in the 1960s and later benefited from former
partner and Bush family friend Edith Jones' bankruptcy expertise
before her appointment as chief judge for the Fifth Circuit U.S.
Court of Appeals. Its bankruptcy practice has come with risks
though; after doing bankruptcy work during the legendary kamikaze
nosedive that was Enron's collapse, Andrews Kurth found itself,
alongside other firms, on the defense side of shareholders'
securities fraud lawsuits.
Andrews Kurth also represents Fortune 500 companies through its
corporate securities practice, headed by Spencer Barasch, a former
regional enforcement director for the SEC.Also ranked by U.S.
News as tier one is the firm's trusts and estates department,
which had plenty of practice in its handling of the 17 year-long
battle over Hughes' estate in the 1980s.